Safely Conduct an In-Person Commencement for CUNY Senior Students


Safely Conduct an In-Person Commencement for CUNY Senior Students

This petition made change with 1,648 supporters!
Jayvon Thomas started this petition to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and

COVID-19 came into New York City in late January of last year. Since then, cases were on the rise, resulting in the closure of all CUNY colleges effectively. Because of the pandemic and the results of a deadly virus spreading, the Class of 2020 celebrated their commencements virtually. So many students missed out on a momentous time to celebrate their achievements. This year, 2021 should not only be approached differently but efficiently for our students.

We are proposing to have a private event for the class of 2021 this year. While we understand that COVID is still present and can possibly spread during this event, we will do everything in our power as CUNY student leaders to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for our CUNY college senior students. Students who have paid lots of money to go to school deserve this, and we think it is possible to have the event in person. 

For the CUNY college seniors to finally enjoy the culmination of their hard work for the past four years of college, here are some ways the private event can be celebrated responsibly:

1. Masks mandate for the duration of the ceremony: To CUNY College Seniors who would like to attend the private event must wear masks entering the ceremony, during, and after. 

2. Limit the number of family members to 2-3 per graduate. 

3. Temperature checks: One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is a fever. Everyone must have a temperature check when entering the ceremony so that no one can spread COVID-19. Anyone who displays having this symptom should leave the ceremony immediately to risk possible exposure to the virus.

4. Maintaining 6ft a part: CUNY college seniors must practice socially distancing as a basic COVID-19 protocol to ensure safety.

5. Handshakes between students and faculty will be omitted from the ceremony.

6. Please get vaccinated if possible: If CUNY college seniors are eligible to be vaccinated by mid-to-late May or early June then they will be protected from the virus.

7. Allow the option of virtual graduation: Virtual graduation should be an option for CUNY college seniors who have pre-existing health conditions or do not feel comfortable yet with the idea of attending in-person graduation.

All of these seven options are great precautionary measures for everyone attending the ceremony to be safe, such as CUNY students, faculty, family members, etc. It is the best way to accommodate everyone.

With the implementation of vaccines to effectively fight against COVID-19, Pfizer (95% success rate), Moderna (94% success rate), and Johnson and Johnson (66% success rate), we are more equipped and knowledgeable to protect ourselves from the virus. Seeing the vaccines means more people could get vaccinated in about three months as the vaccines arrive in the general public or close to graduation. 

We have hope that herd immunity would not be instantaneous, but it could happen in the future.

Ultimately, commencement is the end goal for anyone beginning college. This should not be taken away for the second year in a row. Consider our students first. 



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